In this article, I’ll teach you the modern embroidery technique that is split stitch. Now many of you embroidery beginners are probably wondering- what is split stitch? Well, I’m glad you asked!
Split Stitch is a great stitch for doing lovely straight or curved lines or outlines.
Unlike stitches like back stitch, or running stitch, where you get a dip in the line each time you go in and out of the fabric, with split stitch, it's a really even overall effect. Which makes it one of my top picks for outlines and stitching words!
Split Stitch can also be used as a cool filler stitch, which builds up quite a textured overall effect.
It's also a very forgiving stitch, which makes it perfect for beginners.
So how do you work Split Stitch? Let me explain...
To begin, bring your needle up from the back of your fabric and do a Straight Stitch forward along the line of your pattern. You could do this as either a straight line or a curved one.
Once that's done, instead of going forward again, underneath your hoop, you're actually going to turn around and come back where you came from.
So, bring your needle up to split the stitch that you just did, about halfway along its length.
Now, to complete that stitch, go forward again a stitch length ahead, and poke your needle back down again.
Then you're going to turn back and once again split your previous stitch.
You basically just keep doing that along the line of your pattern until you’ve finished a section and you'll create a lovely even line.
See how you're effectively 'splitting' each stitch as you go? To me, it looks like a tidy little braid or chain stitch.
TIPS: As you pull the needle up to split your previous stitch, it looks great if you come up about half way along the previous stitch. And aim for the middle of the actual thread.
For example, if you're using six strands, ideally you'd split the thread so that three strands are on either side of your needle. This doesn't have to be perfect, but you're aiming for the middle.
Let's look at some examples of how you can use this awesome embroidery stitch in your work! First up, here's my Festive Alphabet pattern. See the outer curve (skin) of the dried oranges? These are worked with Split Stitch.
Another example is my, here are myHappy Designs for Clothing pattern. Split Stitch works well when you're adding cool designs to clothing, like this example here 'aroha'. See how I've used it as a filler stitch here on the first 'a'?
One more example is my patternThe Night Before Christmas. Quite a few details of this pattern are worked in Split Stitch, such as the steam rising from the mug and the trunk of the little tree. It's just such a versatile stitch!
Yay, I am so happy that you now know how to make Split Stitches that you can use in your embroidery patterns. I know this stitch takes some practice to wrap your head around it, but you will keep getting better the more you keep going!
So there you have it, my top tips and knowledge you need to understand how to do Split Stitch. Woo-hoo, go you!
If you enjoyed learning how to do a Split Stitch, then you may also enjoy my Modern Embroidery Foundations Course.
This course takes you through all the beginner techniques and knowledge you need to make your first beginner pattern, Little Wildflower Meadow! Plus, it includes a beautiful second pattern, Blooming Lovely, which is a fantastic place to practice your newfound skills.
I would totally recommend this course, as it covers more stitch techniques than this blog, and you can also do it at your own place. Plus, this is a great way to hold yourself accountable for your own me-time and continue on your path to becoming a modern embroidery superstar.
P.S. Have you checked out this blog yet, 'Learn Modern Embroidery for Beginners with this FREE Pattern?'
So, what pattern are you going to use Split Stitch as an outline for?